As New Yorkers, many of us spend countless hours working behind a desk, then go home to either spend more time answering emails on our phones or sitting in front of the TV watching Netflix. Chances are, all this time spent sitting down, is not spent sitting with perfect posture. Most people tend to sit with a hunched posture: shoulders slouched down, back rounded, and neck drooping. All this sitting hunched over can, and most likely will, lead to some form of back or hip pain.
The best way to avoid this inevitable pain is to be proactive and be sure to firstly, be more mindful of how you are sitting each day, and secondly, stretch at least a few times a week. In many cases, lower back pain comes from tight hip flexors (which is caused by sitting for extended periods of time).
Here are some quick and easy yoga poses that can help prevent that lower back pain:
- Warrior I:
Step right foot in front of the left, about three feet apart. Bend the right knee directly over the right ankle and straighten out the left leg with the heel turned down to the floor maintaining a flat foot. Try to square your hips off as best as you can, thinking of bringing your left hip more forward and your right hip back further. Stack your shoulders directly over your hips and shoot your heart up and forward. Reach your hands above your head with straight arms, palms face one another and melt your shoulder blades down your back to release any tension in your neck. Hold 30 seconds to a minute and then switch sides. Repeat once more on each side.
- Warrior II
From Warrior I, keep your feet in the same position and then open up your hips and chest towards the side. If your right foot is forward, your right arm should be forward and your left arm should be back. Again, stack shoulders directly over hips. Make sure your right knee is still stacked directly over the right ankle and the left leg is straight. Point your tailbone down towards the floor and gaze over your right shoulder. Hold 30 seconds to a minute and then switch sides. Repeat once more on each side.
- Reverse Warrior
From Warrior II, keep the foundation the same. Starting on the right side, reach your right arm all the way forward and then all the way up above your head. Stay low in the lunge and rest the left hand on the left shin or thigh. Keep the torso squared toward the side and avoid twisting to allow the side body to stretch.
- Half Pigeon
From a plank position, take the right knee to the outside of the right wrist and the right ankle comes to the left wrist, aiming for your shin to rest parallel to your chest. Allow the left leg to rest behind you with untucked toes. If your flexibility allows, slowly crawl your hands forward, resting your chest as far down to the ground as possible, while maintaining your hips squared to the floor.
Written by Jamie Lynn Botti, Personal Trainer at Titan Fitness Studios in Chelsea, NYC | @JamieBotti